Apple introduced iSight at the 2003 Worldwide Developers Conference, intended to be used with iChat AV, Apple's video-conferencing client. iMovie (version 4 and later) can also be used to capture video from the device. In April 2005, Apple released a firmware update for the iSight to improve audio performance. As of December 16, 2006, the iSight was no longer for sale in the Apple online store or in retail locations.
The iSight's ¼-inch color CCD sensor has 640×480-pixel VGA resolution with a custom-designed three-part F/2.8 lens with two aspherical elements. It features autoexposure, autofocusing from 50 mm to infinity, and video capture at 30 frames per second in 24-bit color with a variety of shutter speeds. However, the iSight has an image delay of approximately 78 ms. The iSight incorporates internal microphones with dual-element noise suppression. The actual camera only takes up one-quarter of the unit; the remaining space is primarily occupied by its two microphones and mounting socket.
The iSight camera weighs 2.3 ounces (63.8 grams). It uses a single FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394a) cable (included) for audio, video, and power. The camera runs hot even when inactive. Four camera mounts, a plastic tube carrying case, and a FireWire camera mount adapter are also included. The user can select the mounting bracket most appropriate for their monitor or other mounting surface. It is fully compatible with its native Mac OS X as well as partially compatible with the Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems.
The iSight has a small green LED that illuminates when the camera is in use. It also has an iris that closes by twisting the front of the camera.
Although external and internal iSights have significant differences, Apple has used the "iSight" name to brand its built-in video camera found in their MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebook computers as well as iMac desktop computers produced since late 2005. While the external iSight is similar to the built-in iSight, the built-in iSight uses an internal USB 2.0 interface and not the FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394a) interface used by the external iSight camera. Further, the built-in iSight has a plastic lens, is fixed-focus, and uses a CMOS Active pixel sensor, rather than the CCD used in the external iSight. With the LED-Backlit MacBook Pros, Apple has moved to using a sensor capable of 1280x960 pixels, but when accessed using provided APIs, the image is re-sampled to 640x480 pixels. However, Quartz composer allows access to the 1280x1024 pixel video stream. They can also be used for Photo Booth.
Technology blog Gizmodo reported in July 2006 that a bounty was offered for a driver that would enable the external iSight's microphone to function on Windows XP. Users were asked to contribute funds that were to be won by the successful developer. The driver's source would then be open to the public for porting to future Windows versions. After waiting 5 months with no submissions, Gizmodo canceled the competition, returned all donations, sold the iSight and bought a MacBook Pro.
This forum post points to a solution that works for Parallels 3188 (verified) and claims to work for VMware.